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NCWM to Vote on Diesel Gallon Equivalent Proposal This Summer

This past week, the National Conference on Weights and Measures (NCWM) held its Interim Meeting in Daytona Beach, Florida. Weights and measure officials for the second year in a row have designated the diesel gallon equivalent issue as a voting item for the upcoming annual meeting. During Monday’s open-session hearing there was a spirited discussion of the merits of continuing to use gallon equivalent units as the method of sale for natural gas. As expected, some state regulators argued against continued use of the gasoline gallon equivalent unit or inclusion of the diesel gallon equivalent standard. However, a significant number of organizations and companies were on hand to support selling natural gas in gallon equivalent units, including representatives from NGVAmerica, API, NACS, NATSO, PMAA and SIGMA. Member companies AGL Resources, Clean Energy and Pivotal LNG also were in attendance and spoke up in favor of the gallon equivalent standard. Comments made by industry focused on the fact that the current standard has worked well and indicated that retailers and consumers alike prefer the gallon equivalent approach.

After the open session hearing, the Laws & Regulations and the Specifications & Tolerances Committees met to discuss the issue and to consider competing proposals. An alternative to the gallon equivalent approach would have required that starting in 2017 all natural gas would have to be sold in mass units (lbs. or kilograms) instead of in gallon equivalent units. Some supplemental information would be allowed, but fuel pumps would only register and display the number of lbs. or kilograms sold. Today, all natural gas is sold in gasoline gallon units, so the alternative approach would be a major change. After discussing the competing proposals and weighing the comments received during the open session, committee members voted to support inclusion of the gallon equivalent approach as a voting item this summer. Regulatory officials represented on the committees appear to understand that the gallon equivalent approach has the most support and provides the best opportunity for moving forward as a truly national standard since a number of states have already moved to adopt the diesel gallon approach. The proposal also will allow retailers at their discretion the option of using mass as the method of sale for natural gas. Some regulators advocated for this change in the belief that it is important not to foreclose the option to use mass if preference for such a standard develops.

The NCWM Annual Meeting will be held in July in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NGVAmerica intends to work with members to make sure that a successful vote occurs this summer. We will be reaching out to members and trade allies in the coming months to develop a coordinated effort. More details on this effort will be forthcoming in the future.